This week, abortion is back in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the highest court in the country will hear a case against crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), pro-life operations that disguise themselves as abortion clinics.
The case against CPCs comes from California, a state that took a stand against the many deceptive practices the centers use to discourage women from having an abortion.
For example, crisis pregnancy centers claim to offer free pregnancy tests, sonograms and abortions. They exploit search engine optimization tricks that ensure they’re the top results when searching for “abortion clinic.” They often set up shop right next door to real abortion clinics to maximize the potential that women with unwanted pregnancies will mistakenly step through their doors rather than a reproductive health clinic’s.
When women walk into these offices seeking guidance, they instead find themselves bombarded with guilt trips, emotional abuse and false medical information. They’re told abortion increases risks of breast cancer, infertility and psychological trauma that leads to substance abuse, depression and/or suicide. Of course, medical research finds no link between abortion and any of these health hazards.
To combat these practices, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act, requiring licensed clinics to post information about affordable abortion, and requiring unlicensed clinics to disclose their lack of medical certification. A network of crisis pregnancy centers then sued California, claiming the government was violating their right to free speech.
When the Supreme Court justices consider the case, they’ll be questioning whether or not the state is violating First Amendment rights in forcing CPCs to share their license status and provide information about abortions.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), the network of CPCs behind the lawsuit, believes that it should be uninhibited in helping women envision what the choice of life would be like.
However, the primary complaint against CPCs is the deceitful way they accomplish this goal. Vulnerable young ladies who mistakenly step inside a CPC are lied to by people who dress up like medical professionals (but aren’t) and work in places that look like medical clinics (but aren’t).
In all US states, practicing medicine without a license is illegal. However, those rules don’t seem to apply to unlicensed CPCs. The clinics claim their right of free speech should apply to the purposeful deception of women in order to divert them away from their right to have an abortion.
It’s up to nine Supreme Court justices to decide which right is superior.